I met a young person this week in his final year of secondary school, who I have now noted as an absolute, Gloucestershire legend. I haven’t known him long but it was one statement that clinched it for me. It’s not often that someone makes my ‘legend’ list that quickly but this guy was just extraordinary.
It was during a discussion regarding his school ‘prom’ coming up in the next few months. The prom was to take place at Cheltenham Racecourse, a respected venue in itself. Everyone else was discussing what they were wearing and how they were getting there. The tradition for school proms is that people arrive by Limousines, buses, posh cars and all. But no, not for this guy. He will be arriving in a combine harvester!!
And yes, he was genuinely serious!
I’m not only astounded at his true commitment to his west country roots, but the fact he is stepping out of the expected. He is daring to be different.
Living life as a follower of Jesus requires me to have the same attitude. Jesus laid out a way of life for us. Not because he wanted to ‘lay down the rules’ but because he wanted to give us the option of living life as it was intended to be lived.
Many have heard me quote my favourite statement that Jesus made. He said, ‘A thief comes to steal and destroy, but I have come that you may have life, and life in all it’s fullness.’
The world’s expectations, influenced heavily by the media, could perhaps be personified as the thief who comes to steal and destroy. Pressures to conform in the area of self-image, attitude to sex & marriage, how we should deal with conflict etc. The world has it’s own answers and ideas about such things, but Jesus offers a very different perspective.
Is following Jesus’ way of life easy? Not at all. It means that sometimes we need to step away from the popular, the expected and the temptations. It will sometimes cause embarrassment, nervousness and put us in awkward situations.
And yet – I dare to be different by personal choice, because I believe it’s for the best. I believe it’s the way to live in the fullness of life. I am following God’s word (the bible) and believe that his way is best, because he is the author, sustainer and creator of life itself and all within it.
Do you dare to be different?
Would you give it a go?